Teaching to read. Is whole word method harmful for kids development?

Well, not everybody agrees with the benefits of the whole word method. While I believe that different methods work for different kids and no knowledge can hurt a child, a lot of people prefer the classical, the traditional teaching methods. Moreover, as I recently found out, even some governments prefer to set their strong preference for a particular method: whole word method is recently prohibited in France. While it makes me happy that we live in a free country (I do not believe US would ever let something as restrictive pass), where the government does not prohibit various learning strategies, there people who might support French government’s decision.

Regardless of my own personal opinion, I believe every parent should make an informed decision on what’s best for his/her children, taking into account not only various marketing campaigns or friend’s preferences, but pros and cons of every system. So if you are considering a whole word method, you might be interested in some of the opposition that is build against it.1a4

I continue showing the words, bits, the presentations, as well as letters, phonics, anything! I believe in using different systems, different approaches. And I do believe that every single one of them will benefit my child in the future – if not by remembering the actual words and encyclopedic knowledge cards, then by enriching their brain capacity for greater knowledge ahead.

But it is YOU hold your child’s fate in your hands, so feel free to read on and post your own comments at the end.

Thanks to Perla Adams, the amazing Classical Mommy, for providing us with the information on developments against whole words method. Perla is the truly devoted mother and teacher of her own son. Perla tried Doman’s approach faithfully and diligently for a year, didn’t find the results satisfactory and decided to turn to phonics based reading approaches. Despite the fact that I don’t share many of her views, Perla is an inspiration to many of us, her beautiful site is probably the most highly referenced around here, her remarkable presentations and articles – probably most widely used:

Do you already read the book call “Einstein Never Used Flash Cards” ? The book is a summary of investigations and scientific studies about the effects of some methods in early stimulation for children.

I must admit that after some research I am very careful to use a new methods or program with Octavio, many methods are just commercial and more that make any good, are making damages to the natural process of learning in children.

Do you know that France, the Government of France complete forbid whole words approaches in teaching to read since 2006?, there is forbidden in both public and private schools. There are many other countries that has already find out that this approaches do not make any good to the people in the long time, and they also come back officially to the alphabet/phonics methods. I am sure and hope that in few years will be also forbidden in USA, there are many investigations in this matter. We mothers are sometimes victims of this bad commercial methods, and is until the child is older that we discover the big problem, I was lucky I discovery it early, and was relative easy help Octavio to forget bad habits…


Read more at Perla’s experience and conclusions in her own Flash Cards Approach article and her blog statement upon learning the connection of the whole word approach and dyslexia.

Other useful information on this topic:

  • Induced Dyslexia
  • Training Normal Children To Read as like Defective Children
  • Don Potter’s site
    (thanks to Perla Adams): in the website of Don Potter, where the articles com from, there are more articles and the template of the test to evaluate the grade of induced dyslexia. I think maybe you will like contact him, I am sure he will give you more info about the test to evaluate dyslexia.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Policy statement
  • Psychomotor Pattering
  • Dr. Terrence M. Hines: Pattering and Reading relation
  • Anything to reach Ryan – real life story.
  • Phonics, Whole-word And Whole-language Processes Add Up To Determine Reading Speed